The legal battle over same-sex relationships soldiered forward this week when Basic Rights Oregon headed back to court on Monday, September 26. They were there for initial arguments in Martinez v. Kulongoski, the latest case that seeks to declare Measure 36 (M36) unconstitutional.
Although the case is new, the argument remains unchanged: First, the suit argues that M36 represents a wholesale revision to the state constitution and takes away citizen rights instead of protecting them. "Revisions" to the constitution can only be approved by a two-thirds majority of each legislative house—M36 instead was enacted by voters through the initiative process.
Second, BRO is challenging the amendment on grounds that it technically amends multiple clauses of the constitution at once. Such tinkering violates basic constitutional law that says multiple amendments must be voted on separately.
Finally, BRO is arguing that the language of amendment was a "statement of principle," not an enforceable law. But already, in an earlier case, the Oregon Supreme Court has said voter intent was clear enough that M36 should be considered a voter-endorsed law.
Anyone looking for a quick resolution to the case will be sorely disappointed. No matter what happens in the circuit court, the decision will be appealed by the losing side, eventually bouncing its way to the state Supreme Court by maybe, oh, 2008. SCOTT MOORE
You can bet that Karl Rove and his spies will try to infiltrate this weekend's seminar in Portland. The National Summit to Save Our Elections is bringing to town some of the best-thinking progressive rabble-rousers in the country—from Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. to Air America's Thom Hartmann, and the Green Party's 2004 Presidential Candidate David Cobb. Set against Portland's own experiment to publicly fund elections, the seminar is three days of workshops, down-to-earth panel discussions and oodles of inspiration for running your own ballot initiative. Full schedule at: www.Summit.OregonVRC.org. PB
Fri-Sat, 1 pm-7pm, First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th; Sun, 8 am-noon, PSU, 724 SW Harrison